At New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells writes about bees, colony collapse disorder and beekeeper Dave Hackenberg. “It’s been a long decade for bees. We’ve been panicking about them nonstop since 2006, when beekeeper Dave Hackenberg inspected 2,400 hives wintering in Florida and found 400 of them abandoned — totally empty. American beekeepers had experienced dramatic die-offs before, as recently as the previous winter in California and in regular bouts with a deadly bug called the varroa mite since the 1980s. But those die-offs would at least produce bodies pathologists could study. Here, the bees had just disappeared. In the U.K., they called it Mary Celeste syndrome, after the merchant ship discovered off the Azores in 1872 with not a single passenger aboard. The bees hadn’t even scrawled CROATOAN in honey on the door on their way out of the hive.”
Posted April 6, 2006
A short list of the some of the most bizarre, more outlandish XXX fare of the 1970s wouldn’t be complete without mentioning an eye-opening 1977 Alex De Renzy feature film titled LONG JEANNE SILVER. In fact, of all the porn films in my collection, I’ve gone though the most trouble to get this particular one, so excuse me if I feel overly compelled to tell you its story.
The first time I ordered it from Something Weird Video, the vhs tape arrived blank for some unknown reason. Soon after that, I did some art for their catalogue and was paid in product. After I dropped off the order for which tapes I wanted in an envelope at the post office, I realised that I had totally forgotten to ask for a copy of Long Jeanne Silver (gasp!). I had to go back to the post office 20 minutes later to try and fix my error, but the woman at the counter gave me all kinds of shit about “rules,” and I had to argue with her to get my letter back!
Now that the order had been placed, I was confident that the infamous film would soon be mine, but what I didn’t take into account was Canada Customs opening up my mail and confiscating the tape on the grounds that it was “obscene” due to rules against fisting and foot-fucking that were in effect at that time. They sent me a letter explaining why the tape had been seized and destroyed, and in turn I contemplated moving to a new country just as I do anytime that Canada Customs steals perfectly legal to possess (but not transport) material out of my mail.
Undaunted, I decided that the postal service was totally risky, and arranged a trip with my friend Adam to drive down to Seattle where Something Weird is located, and pick up yet another box of tapes that were now owed me for doing more art for the company. I can still see us there, cold-sweating it at the US/Canada border as I had about 20 tapes hidden under the car seats, in our luggage, and stashed in various other cubby holes and bags in the car.
“How long were you out of the country?”
“Oh, haha. One day”
“Are you bringing anything back with you?”
“Oh um… no. Um. just some books or um, something. Just um, $20 worth.”
(long pause as he looks us up and down) “Drive on.”
After some outright smuggling, LONG JEANNE SILVER was mine, but as we drove back into Vancouver, I began to worry that the contents of the tape couldn’t possibly live up to the way I had built them up in my mind. Thankfully this far-out freak show lived up to my internal hype.
Long Jeanne is a blonde-haired young lass with an astonishing phallic birth defect that got her a starring role in this pseudo-documentary porn movie, the only such starring role of her career.
“My name is Long Jeanne Silver and I’m handicapped and horny!” she tells the audience while checking out her own centerspread in Cheri magazine. “Due to a quirk of nature I was born with a bigger dick than John Holmes, and baby, you better believe I know how to use it!”
Yep, Miss Silver was, thanks to a congenital birth defect, born without a foot — and she crams her big ol’ stump in every sticky orifice available on her various co-starring pals, including right up one young faggy gentleman’s poochhole!
According to exploitation film historian Johnny Legend, we’re damn lucky to even see this scene. It seems Mike Weldon (director of GETTING OFF, and SKIN TIGHT) had purchased the rights for the film from DeRenzy and couldn’t figure out why when he tried to resell it, every potential buyer was balking at the halfway point during the screenings. Legend himself was put in charge of editing out whatever it was that was scaring off potential customers.
“Silver picks up a gay guy, brings him home, and shoves her leg down his puckered ass.” Legend reviewed, as if recounting one of the most horrific moments of his life. “And she keeps going in, deeper and deeper. I even began to squirm. I ran into the booth, stopped the film, marked the footage number, then told the projectionist to let me know when the scene ended. I held my eyes shut until a tap on the shoulder told me it was over, then I marked the end numbers on the scene and galloped off to the editing room to hastily remove the offending sequence from all existing prints.”
Jeanne’s stump is admittedly rather odd looking, and yet it’s heavily erotic at the same time. She waves the appendage around like a plucked chicken wing, and when she penetrates with her lubed limb, you can’t quite believe your eyes — or if you’re faint of heart — you close them tight like Johnny did.
There really isn’t much attempt at a narrative in this little epic, just a series of sex sessions strung together (her 3-way with Tina Wong and Lori Blue being the one that my boner took the most notice of) and from various accounts the film was either a big success or it failed miserably in terms of box office. Jeanne herself didn’t much like the film in hindsight, telling an interviewer years later that she was “embarrassed by it”.
During an interview with Cheri magazine in 1977, young Jeanne admitted that she began prostituting her ass in reform school at the age of 15, where she had been placed due to seven counts of burglary. From there she plied her trade as a stripper in Phoenix, Arizona, then moved from town to town, hooking to pay her bills.
Jeanne was initially discovered by the Mitchell brothers in 1977 when she hopped in off the street and into their theater, short one leg and desperately ready to do any kind of hardcore scene they could think off. Pretty soon she was living in Carter “Sleazeball” Steven’s studio (aka “The Slut Motel”) in New York, and in all manner of XXX features, such as a freaky scene in the Avon roughie PRISONER OF PLEASURE, donning leather gear and cramming Carol Connors (Thora Birtch’s mom) in the puss in DESIRES FOR MEN, administering a spanking to Anna Turner in PEEPHOLES, getting fucked in the ass by Joey Silvera in 1983’s MANEATERS. She even appeared briefly with her fake leg attached in the 1977 enema-themed classic, WATERPOWER.
Long Jeanne also had some famous girlfriends, including a short relationship with classic porn star Sharon Mitchell (whom she met on the set of 1977’s THE VIOLATION OF CLAUDIA), and then an infamous run-in with new age porn princess Annie Sprinkle after the two were jailed together for participating in a stump-fucking photoshoot for Love Magazine. 48 hours later the charges were dropped, and Sprinkle speaks fondly of Jeanne’s “sexy stump” in her spoken word performances to this day.
I’ve heard accounts from various old schoolers that she was often seen doing live sex shows at the Melody Theater in NYC in the early ’80s, and that she continued doing them long after it was something you still saw around on a regular basis. Late in 1982, she had changed her performing name to Jean Silver, no longer showed off her plucked chicken wing while on camera, and in 1985 retired from adult cinema altogether.
The rumours are that Jeanne either moved to Arizona to live on a ranch, or went to college to study child psychology and got seriously involved in physical therapy programs — but neither of those have been confirmed outside of hearsay. Regardless, I hope she had a favorable outcome, she was one of a kind.
The movie is available on DVD from Vinegar Syndrome.